R.I.C.E. for Runners

I’m heading out for my last long training run today before the Marine Corp Marathon in 3 weeks, so I thought I’d share with you how I recover after long runs and races – enjoy!

You’ve probably heard the acronym R.I.C.E. – Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. – for treatment of injuries.

Well, even though I don’t think a 20 mile training run or a marathon is formally classified as an injury you sure are giving your body one heck of a beating, so not surprisingly a lot of the R.I.C.E. steps are great for recovery!

R is for ROLL.

Yes, when it comes to running R is for ROLL, not REST!

While your body does need rest to recover from a long run, I wouldn’t suggest planting yourself on the couch for the rest of the day after your long run, for now keep moving!

And give your muscles a little TLC with a foam roller!  Spending some time with your foam roller offers many of the same benefits as a deep tissue massage (and who wouldn’t love a massage after a long run!).

Foam RollingFoam rollers are available online or at your local sports or running store and they aren’t very expensive, so well worth it!  I currently use the GRID foam roller from TP Therapy which I really like (I also like that’s it’s fairly small so I can pack it for races!).

If you’re new to foam rolling here are a couple of great resources to get you started:

Runner’s World – Foam Rolling for Runners

Greatist – How to Foam Roll Like a Pro Infographic

I is for ICE.

Ice reduces inflammation, so while you may want to “spot-ice” certain places that are painful or achy after a long run, why not just make sure you’re covered and jump into a whole bathtub of ice!

Ice Bath 2

Ah, the ice bath.  Controversial?  Yes.  Fun?  Ummm…not so much.

There is much conflicting evidence on whether they actually do anything or not, but I think they help my recovery (especially between back to back races like the runDisney Goofy or Dopey Challenge), so I’m going to stick with it!

C is for COMPRESSION.

I love the feeling of wiggling into my compression socks and pants after a long run!  The best way to describe it is like a hug for your legs!  Well, that’s the best way I can describe it.

The best way I’ve found someone else to describe it is from a Men’s Health Article about the benefits of compression.  Mike Hamlin, Ph.D., of Lincoln University said, “The garments reduce swelling and therefore pain. They increase blood flow, too, so the harmful products released from the damaged muscle can be flushed out, also reducing the chance for soreness.”

And, compression wear is super stylish!

Post Run WalkLooking good post long run in my CW-X compression pants and my pink Pro Compression socks!  (Not sure Madison is a fan of this look…)

E is for ELEVATION.

I’m not talking prop your legs up on a pillow here.  I’m talking lay down on the floor and get your legs WAY up there!

In yoga this restorative pose is often called “Legs up the Wall” (how creative right??) and there are many benefits to doing it after a long run!

Legs up the WallLaying with your legs up the wall helps reduces swelling and gets the blood that has been concentrating in your legs while you’ve been running for hours circulating.  This pose also offers a gentle hamstring stretch and let’s face it, it’s just relaxing!

I usually lie in this pose for 10-15 minutes after a long run.  (No excuses with this one – you can do it anywhere and all you need is a wall!)

Hoping some of these tips help you out on your next long run recovery!

What’s your favorite recovery tip?

Are any of these tips new to you?

Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a health professional, only a yoga teacher and fellow runner sharing recovery tips that have worked for me!  Please consider your own health circumstances before using any of these tips and consult with your doctor if necessary!  

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28 thoughts on “R.I.C.E. for Runners

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  2. I need to roll more. Like loads more!
    I used to ice bath but I just couldn’t stand the pain! Now I save it for post-race recovery as a special treat for having finished a marathon. Which isn’t really a treat at all, just an extension of the discomfort!
    Right there with you on the CW-X compression tights. Nothing makes your legs feel ace like sleeping in them after a long run. Not very popular with the girlfriend, mind…
    I do the up the wall every now and again as well. Super hamstring stretch while all the ‘gunk’ drains out of your legs to get processed.
    Thanks for the tips!

    • Same here! I finally set a timer in my phone for every night to spend 15 minutes foam rolling and then drinking a cherry juice!

      I have to admit I hated ice baths until I started doing them where I get in the water first and then add the ice – not nearly as bad!

      Thanks so much for the re-blog!

  3. I’ve used ice packs ot those blocks you freeze to put in your cooler. I used one after a race when I ran with an injury and the bag of ice worked like magic! No pain the next day. I don’t think I could sit in an ice bath! Good tips!

  4. I definitely needed this — THANK YOU! My Dopey runs are getting longer and longer now, and I’m willing to do absolutely anything to help get me through this process injury-free (and, you know, as painlessly as possible). I’ve been using The Stick, mostly, instead of my foam roller…and good lord does it hurt at the time…but my soreness seems to completely disappear afterwards!

  5. I’m not brave enough for an ice bath. But I do ice my legs. I used to be really good about elevating my legs and somehow I fell out of the habit. Great reminder to get back at it!

    • I need to work on making elevation a more regular thing…my problem is always when I like on the floor Madison thinks it’s play time and comes running over with all her toys!

  6. Hmmm, I’ve definitely got the R.I. but need to work on the C.E. part…it would probably help if I owned compression pants and/or socks. Definitely something to invest in before Goofy (or a full in general).

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